Welcome to the ultimate guide on where to see dolphins in Puerto Rico!
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience with these intelligent and playful creatures, you’re in the right place.
I heard from a friend that Puerto Rico had a ton of dolphins so I made it my mission to find as many as possible when I visited recently.
Based on firsthand experience, Condado Lagoon is the best place in Puerto Rico to see dolphins in their natural habitat as there’s a large population of dolphins in the area.
I’d recommend joining a glass bottom kayaking tour as the lagoon is a big area and your expert guide will know where to find them.
In the rest of this article, I’ll also cover all the other places where I saw dolphins in Puerto Rico and tips on how to increase your chances of spotting them.
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Best Places To Swim With Dolphins In Puerto Rico
There are lots of dolphins present in the waters that surround Puerto Rico making it one of the best places to go dolphin watching in the world.
One key thing to note is that all of the dolphins that you’ll see in Puerto Rico are wild dolphins in the ocean.
Puerto Rico doesn’t have any captive dolphins which means that you can’t book onto a ‘swim with dolphins’ experience.
You can however still swim with dolphins in the ocean, you just need to find them!
For the best chance of seeing a dolphin, head to the places below…
1. Condado Lagoon
I found that Condado Lagoon was by far the best place to swim with dolphins in Puerto Rico. It’s located within the capital, San Juan, making it super easy to get to.
I saw about 7 or 8 dolphins swimming around the lagoon, playing with their friends and searching for food.
One thing I noticed about the dolphins here is that they’re super playful and love to jump in and out of the water!
I also saw lots of other animals too including starfish, stingrays and manatees! In fact, Condado Lagoon is also the best place to see manatees in Puerto Rico.
One thing to know is that Condado Lagoon is a large area and it’s more difficult to see the dolphins from the shore. That’s why I’d recommend getting out onto the water if you can.
The most popular ways to see the dolphins is by joining the glass bottom kayak tour as you’ll get to row right alongside the dolphins. This is what I did and I loved it.
Your expert guide will be able to show you the best spots in the lagoon where dolphins can pretty much always be found.
Alternatively you could try out this snorkeling experience if you want to get into the water and swim right alongside the dolphins.
These activities are super fun (perfect for families) and also give you the chance to get up close to the dolphins in Puerto Rico and really feel like you’re one of them.
2. San Juan Bay
This stunning bay, which sits in the heart of San Juan, is a popular location filled with historic sites and fun attractions.
This bay is one of the best places to go dolphin watching in Puerto Rico as dolphin sightings are super common. I actually saw about 5 dolphins when I visited.
The best way to see the dolphins in San Juan Bay is by joining a boat tour.
This boat tour is actually a sunset tour so you not only get to see dolphins but you’ll also get to watch the sky turn from blue to orange and pink. It’s pretty magical, that’s for sure!
These tours take you right out onto the water and as the local guides know the area well, this will give you the best possible chance of seeing a dolphin.
Check out the below video where a dolphin greets some jet skiers in San Juan Bay:
Rincón is located on the westernmost tip of the island.
Dolphins, as well as lots of other marine animals, can often be seen swimming along the shores of Rincón.
I found that the best place to swim with dolphins in Rincón was at Steps Beach, also known as Tres Palmas Marine Natural Reserve.
This beach is a well known snorkeling spot and dolphins sightings are fairly common here too. I spent about an hour snorkeling here and saw around 3 dolphins!
A coral reef runs right along the length of the beach so it’s the perfect place to go snorkeling, most people book onto a snorkeling tour so they don’t miss anything.
You’ll get the chance to see tropical fish, turtles and the odd dolphin too!
4. La Parguera
The quant little village of La Parguera is located in Lajas (southwestern Puerto Rico).
This beautiful village is famous for its a bioluminescent bay, lush mangrove forests and nature reserves.
After visiting La Parguera, I found that the best place to see and swim with dolphins was at the La Parguera Nature Reserve where you’ll find a well-developed and extensive coral reef which is also a popular diving site.
The best way to see and swim alongside the dolphins in La Parguera is by renting a water bike.
I found that having the water bike made spotting the dolphins way easier as it was hard to see them from the shore.
This super fun activity allows you to navigate through the beautiful mangroves and pass by lots of wonderful marine life including dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and rays too.
Check out the below video showing some dolphins in La Parguera:
5. Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve
Another great place in Puerto Rico where you’ll have a good chance of seeing dolphins is at the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Fajardo.
This stunning nature reserve features a blue lagoon, mangroves, coral reefs and sandy beaches.
The best way to see and swim with the dolphins at this nature reserve is by getting out onto the water.
I’d personally recommend joining a kayaking & snorkeling tour that comes with an expert guide.
I found that this nature reserve is a big place so navigating it on your own and trying to find dolphins can be hard but the expert guides know it like the back of their hand.
You’ll be able to swim right alongside the dolphins if you’re lucky enough to spot one which is definitely an experience you won’t forget.
6. Vieques Island
Vieques Island is a smaller island that lies just off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast and is another ideal place to go dolphin watching in Puerto Rico.
You can easily do a day trip to Vieques like I did.
This island is best known for being an excellent snorkeling location where you can observe lots of interesting marine life. This is mainly due to the island’s abundance of coral reefs.
As Vieques Island isn’t on the mainland, I’d recommend joining a snorkeling tour that will take you from the mainland to Vieques Island and back.
Mosquito Pier is one of the most popular snorkeling sites on Vieques Island. Dolphins are very commonly spotted swimming by near the pier and I saw at least 4 or 5 myself.
You’ll find Mosquito Pier is on the north side of the island.
- Snorkeling Tour to Vieques Island (includes transportation)
Check out the below video which shows some dolphins spotted whilst on a boat at Vieques Island:
Did you know that Vieques is one of the best places to go horse riding in Puerto Rico? You could also join a horse riding tour along the beach whilst you’re there….
7. Culebra Island
Culebra Island is another small island that is located just off the east coast of Puerto Rico’s mainland. It’s easy to get to from Fajardo.
Based on my own experience, the best place to spot dolphins on this island is at Tamarindo Beach on the west side of the island.
This beach is well known for its crystal clear waters and coral reefs that are filled with an abundance of interesting marine life including tropical fish, dolphins, turtles and rays.
The best way to see the dolphins here is to join a snorkeling tour! If you’re lucky enough to find one, you’ll be able to swim with the dolphins and get up close to them.
(Just remember that dolphins are wild animals and should be respected. You shouldn’t swim too close to them and should never touch them).
This snorkeling tour also includes transport to and from mainland Puerto Rico to Culebra Island which is super handy as it can be difficult to access alone.
Other beaches on the island where you can sometimes see dolphins include Zoni Beach and Flamenco Beach.
Check out the video below to see some dolphins spotted whilst scuba diving around Culebra Island:
8. Cabo Rojo
Another area of Puerto Rico where you can often see dolphins is Cabo Rojo.
Cabo Rojo is a region on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast which is known for having mangroves, coral reefs and beautiful beaches.
Dolphins can often be seen by the cliffs in front of the lighthouse called Los Morrillos.
The best time to see the dolphins is late afternoon, just before sunset.
Check out the video below to see some dolphins in the water at Cabo Rojo:
9. Mona Island
Mona Island, a small island that lies just off the west coast of Puerto Rico, is another great place to see dolphins.
Mona Island is the perfect habitat and the best kept Caribbean refuge for many marine animals including dolphins.
Marine life is abundant around the island, so you’ll have a really good chance of being able to swim with dolphins here.
This secluded island paradise is very popular with divers who come from afar to explore the untouched beaches, caves and coral reefs.
The most popular beaches for scuba diving are Playa Sardineras, Playa Pajaros, Punta Arenas and Playa Mujeres.
The island itself is uninhabited and protected by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources meaning its wildlife is well protected.
In the video below you can see some dolphins swimming in the water near Mona Island:
If you enjoy seeing dolphins, you may also be interested in knowing where to go whale watching in Puerto Rico.
I hope this guide has inspired you to embark on your own dolphin watching adventure in Puerto Rico.
From the tranquil waters of Condado Lagoon to the open sea, there are plenty of opportunities to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
Just remember to always respect their space and try not to get too close as this could scare them away.